Friday, 11 November 2016

18 Carat Top of the Pops

August 12th 1982 arrives and a bin bag adorned John Peel is the host of tonight's Top of the Pops! And what are the three most popular programmes on BBC1 this week, I hear you ask? Well (feel free to hum Yellow Pearl here):

in at number three with 9.4 million viewers is Fame
and yes still at number two with 9.55 million viewers it's Top of the Pops!
but straight in at number one, with 9.8 million viewers, is Friday's edition of The Nine O Clock News!

What do you think of the show so far.......?

12-8-82: Presenter: John Peel

(34) TOTO COELO – I Eat Cannibals
And the show begins with Barry Blue's multicoloured bin bag amazons Toto Coelo, who included former replacement Leg and occasional Zoo member Anita in their line up, performing their only top ten hit which peaked at number 8.

(3) YAZOO – Don’t Go
The top four were all non-movers this week, but it's a treat to see Yazoo in the studio.

(21) BOYSTOWN GANG – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (clip from Top Pop – Dutch T.V.)
Ok, so here we get a former Dutch number one hit, which features a fine lady singer flanked by two male extras from some second rate porn movie! This Frankie Valli cover was the Gang's only top ten hit peaking at number 4.

(25) THE ASSOCIATES – 18 Carat Love Affair
The groups final top 30 hit, somehow reaching number 21.

(38) SHEENA EASTON – Machinery
Sheena goes a bit Hazel O'Connorish here with a quite impressive offering that surely deserved to get higher than number 38.

(22) HAYSI FANTAYZEE – John Wayne Is Big Leggy
First of two top 20 hits. Made it to number 11. Can't believe they edited this one out of the 7.30pm slot ~ what a bummer!

(27) WAVELENGTH – Hurry Home
Only hit, peaking at 17. Also edited out of the 7.30pm showing.

(23) KOOL & THE GANG – Big Fun
Well, the acrobatics here by the Moroccan tumblers are certainly impressive, if somewhat random, I don't quite know what Zoo are doing though. The song reached number 14.

(26) FUN BOY THREE – Summertime
The FB3 go all Gershwin, in their own unique way, with their fourth and final hit of 1982, peaking at 18.

(16) THE FIRM – Arthur Daley (‘E’s Alright) ®
Went up two more places. Would rather have seen the Haysi Fantayzee performance.

(1) DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS with THE EMERALD EXPRESS – Come On Eileen (and credits) ®
Second of four weeks at the top.

Next up is August 19th 1982 which will be shown next Friday (Sky at Night on Thursday).


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  2. Sorry to be picky Ange but the Top 5 were all non-movers this week including Hot Chocolate at number 5. That must surely be a record isn't it?

    1. Yes you are right, the top five were non-movers (though that does still mean that technically it is correct to say that the top four were all non-movers too by default :-)

    2. Bama, that is two editions in a row that you're giving Angelo a hard time, and put to the sword, lol!

    3. I'm just a stickler for accuracy and a pedantic old git.

    4. Pretty sure there was a week last year when the entire top 6 were non-movers from the previous chart.

  3. Thanks Angelo for confirming that occasional 'Leg' Anita was one of the girls on Toto Coelo. I was thinking that myelf while watching the performance, but could not be absolutely sure. She can be an occasional leg anytime!
    Anyway, Toto Coelo I thought were the pick of the performances (along with Haysi Fantaysee), simply by the energy they were putting out, especially Anita and the one in green who had the best curves.

    Regarding Boystown Gang on Top Pop, the Dutch equivalent to TOTP, this Top Pop show never had a studio audience, and I remember particularly the performance by John Miles in 1976 with Music, where there was in a nice studio decorated set.
    Anyway, the song by Boystown Gang was not the best cover of this, but it was The Pet Shop Boys later in the decade who really got hold of this song well, and made it a lot more palpable.

    Haysi Fantaysee - although this was edited out of the 7.30pm showing, I remember at the time that the girl of this duet was a real minx, and very tasty. Her shiny dark hair, slender figure and unique voice took it to a whole new level, and as a shy 14 year old at the time, I was just fascinated by such a sexy lady, and could only watch in admiration. Pick of the show for me, and a pity she was not singing "Hold Me" instead of Fleetwood Mac!

  4. Was this the edition with John Peel's famous remark after Haysi Fantayzee's hit? If so, biggest 'chop' mistake on the early evening re-runs since Can all those years back.

    Well known pop fact no. 397 - Toto Coelo also featured Ros Holness, daughter of 'Blockbusters Bob'.

    1. Which one was Ros, I mean which colour outfit was she wearing? It's not red, cos that was Anita, the occasional Leg.

    2. I haven't seen the show yet, but Ros is far left wearing the black bin liner in the above pic.

    3. didn't "i'll have a P please" bob holness play the saxophone on "baker street"? just joking! what i never understood about that kids' quiz show he presented (and for which he was patently unsuited in my view) was why there were solo contestants up against teams of two on the buzzer - can anyone explain?

    4. I always wondered about that numerical disparity between the teams on Blockbusters - it always looked most unfair to me! An interesting true fact about Bob Holness is that he once played James Bond, in a South African radio production of Moonraker.

    5. He was the first actor to play James Bond.

    6. I think you are technically correct, Bama, though Barry Nelson had played American agent "Jimmy" Bond in a 1954 TV adaptation of Casino Royale, two years before the Holness Moonraker. However, Holness would have been the first to play the "real" British Bond.

  5. Although you can't really see it properly during the Associates' performance guitarist Alan Rankine is playing two guitars made of chocolate. Apparently these were specially made by confectioners at Harrods for a cost of £600 apiece. He breaks the first one up and hands the neck to Billy who doesn't know what to do with it and feeds the rest to the audience.

    According to the biography of Billy McKenzie the band were very drunk during the rehearsals of this with Martha physically moving her keyboard across stage when Billy kept trying to push her off. Accordingly they were told to leave and were to be replaced by another act (the book says Shalamar but it can't be them because they had dropped out of the chart this week) but when that group couldn't make it they were back in. Although they all look like they're having fun there was a lot of friction in the group and Rankine would leave by October.

  6. John Peel doesn't seem very impressed with them, and they were regarded as a novelty act - five women singers dressed in bin bags?! - but Toto Coelo deserved to be bigger than this one hit. OK, they had a few more releases, but they didn't do very well. What a fun record, with its stupid but amusing lyrics and a tribal beat: must admit I thought this was a really tough record when I was little, as silly as that sounds now. And yes, The Spice Girls lifted their act. The world was not ready!

    Slightly overdoing it with the dry ice, you can just about make out Yazoo through the fog. This is probably their best studio performance so far. Yet another act which has to combat the studio balloons.

    Boys Town Gang - shouldn't there be an apostrophe in that name? Anyway, bog standard late to the party disco cover, I get the feeling Mrs Boys Town was doing all the heavy lifting here as the two strapping blokes were just happy to be there.

    Ah, finally the chocolate guitar as the Associates fritter their earnings away. Another winner from a great album, but it seems it couldn't last and they imploded soon after. Better to burn bright than fade away...

    Sheena Easton with the not exactly temptingly titled Machinery. Thought she sounded like Lena Lovich here. I imagine Peelie lobbied to be on this show because he was a fan of hers.

    Haysi Fantayzee, now bearing in mind what this song is about, yes, all very political but also very rude, I didn't expect the exuberant duo to act out the lyrics! I suspect that's why they were edited from the early showing. Anyway, a pretty good, eccentric pop tune away from all that controversy that wasn't. We know Jeremy Healy became a successful DJ, but what happened to his singing partner?

    Crunching gear change to Wavelength, or have The Firm changed their tune? No, it's a song obviously inspired by a few too many listenings of 10cc's I'm Not In Love, one for the Quiet Storm, but quite sweet in its way.

    Biggest laugh of the night in Peelie's intro to Zoo and their guest dancers. I was exhausted just looking at them. As for the song, Kool and the Gang were getting a bit by the numbers by that stage. You're too busy looking at the acrobats here.

    Hey, Fun Boys, get a room! Interesting that Terry changes the lyric "and your mama's good looking" to "and your mum is good looking" which doesn't quite sound the same. Interesting version, but they don't manage to wrestle the song to the ground and make it their own.

    Ah, here are the actual The Firm with their incredible feat of miming and Dave from Chas and Dave on drums (apparently). Minder was massive at the time, wasn't it? Practically invented its own language, as heard on this.

    Then Dexys with the gravity-defying hat performance. When do we get to see that famed video?

  7. host: the man himself says he's sold out by fronting the programme, but he'd actually already sold out years earlier when he ditched the hippy stuff to hitch a ride on the punk bandwagon. i noticed that there were three chart countdown hits in a row with parentheses in their titles, but i don't think peelie gave the full titles for any of them

    toto coelo: although they are obviously a showbiz contrivance as opposed to a group of mates forming a band, there's much in common here with the belle stars here i.e. that most if not all of them don't actually have that much in the way of good looks. musically it's like what the original purpose of what their costumes were for i.e. rubbish. or total crappo if you will

    boystown gang: this disco-by-numbers cover of a hoary old easy listening tune (that was never one of my favourites of that genre) absolutely screams "1978!", so i have no idea how it managed to chart several years later. and why is the act so-called when it's fronted by a woman - why didn't she just release it under her own name? presumably it was to cash in on the gay market, but the leather man thing was also already somewhat passe by this time

    associates: it's probably my last chance to make reference to the statuesque martha, but going by that low-cut gown she wasn't actually as statuesque as previously thought. she still has the class however to knock the likes of the belle stars and toto coelo off the screen. billy's going for a bouffant look which doesn't really suit him, and sadly the song is no "club country". presumably the heart that billy steals off martha was also made of chocolate?

    sheena easton: even the statuesque martha can't compete with ms easton when it comes to true beauty. but sadly that was all she had to offer as a pop star in my view, as she had a terrible singing voice and her songs stank. yes, this is better than her usual MOR fare, but i would say it's more kim wilde than hazel o'connor in influence (listen out for the "who-oh" chants!). is there some modulation going on there?

    hayzi fantaysee: i notice there's some raving here for the woman in this, but after the last two lookers this is a bit after the lord mayor's show for me (she's too feral for my liking, and the dreadlocks don't help in that respect). unlike his chums boy george and marilyn, it would appear that her male partner mr healy couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. but despite that he still managed to get on totp as a performer before they did. this is musical drivel as far as i'm concerned, but i remember being both bemused and amused by the title at the time (and i still have no idea what it means). one wonders if acts had run-throughs of their routines before the cameras started rolling, because if so then surely the director would have given them a red card for their simulated copulation (which happens not once but twice). which reminds me of the time at school when i witnessed one of my female classmates bending over to get her stuff out of her locker, and one of my male ones coming along and standing behind her in the manner of the above pose - us lads both had a snigger over that, although i'm not sure if the girl knew what was going on!

    1. Boystown (one word) was the nickname of the first recognised American gay community in East Lakeview in Chicago. The act are named after it even though they were based in Los Angeles. The female lead singer is Jackson Moore.

    2. Indeeed lookswise, no-one would be able to stand up to Sheena Easton in that department, and I would still put the girl on Haysi Fantaysee in second place in this week's looks table after Sheena, but still ahead of Martha of The Associates.

    3. Ho ho, Wilby, nice one with the 'after the Lord Mayor's Show" remark seeing as said show was earlier today. Very topical!

    4. thanks arthur, but as i don't have a tv licence i had no idea there was even a show of that name!

      with regard to haysi fantaysee: there was actually a third "secret" member of the group, who was the musical mastermind (if such a description can be merited in this case). his name was paul caplin and he had previously been in the failed new romantic/latin dance group animal magnet, and i would guess it was him playing the melodica thing on the show?

    5. Yes I hardly noticed him sitting there until the camera focused on him. He was real in danger of being hit by those hoe-downing cheerleaders.

  8. part II:

    wavelength: how did this get in the charts? was it played on radio 2 or something? it's about as bad as i imagined it would be when it was mentioned in the last blog - the only memorable thing about it for me was the key change in the choruses. and did anyone else notice the presence of several audience members wearing utterly incongruous deely boppers for this snorefest?

    kool and the gang: i have a self-imposed rule where i deliberately avoid listening to anything they did post-"ladies night", so it was a case of MTCO (move the cursor on) time (as opposed to FF!)

    fun boy three: it seems like only last week that they were peddling that scant musical thing of their own. but perhaps realising their compositonal skills were limited they now return to the safe territory of old covers. i liked this song in my youth, but i have heard it too many times now for it to interest me any more (although i would still recommend count basie's strangely eerie version). however it has to be said this is quite an impressive attempt, with a musical awareness that was previously lacking from their recordings. no doubt down to the fact that they've now enlisted the help of some ladies with established credentials (unlike their previous female collaborators!) in the form of the ravishing beauties - among their ranks was virginia astley, whose dad edwin was responsible for classic 60's ITC adventure themes such as "the saint" and "department S". oh, and it has to said that terry's haircut is magnificent!

  9. At last a show with plenty of interesting new songs, despite a static Top 5, and a top-class presenting job from John Peel to go with it. This was his best TOTP turn so far, with a dry and witty remark for pretty much every song. Interesting as well that we don't get a single video in this show, either.

    JP wears a bin bag to pay tribute to Toto Coelo, who get things underway with an eye catching performance sold by the multi-coloured outfits and the energy they put into it. The song is basic but fun, and in the looks department I think they outshine The Belle Stars. I had no idea Barry Blue was the mastermind behind them, and I must admit I failed to spot Anita Leg either - I must have been too dazzled by the bin liners...

    Alf ditches the hat and Vince manages to crack a smile as Yazoo make a welcome return to the studio, before The Boystown Gang perform an energetic and soulful version of a hardy perennial. Does anyone think those two blokes might just possibly have been gay?

    A real treat next, as The Associates provide the most joyous performance of the night. There is a real chemistry between Billy and the gorgeous, Grace Kellyesque Martha on the soaring chorus, and the business with the chocolate guitar is all good fun, though it wasn't obvious what it was on the screen. If this is the last we see of them, it's a great way to go out. The Sheena Easton tune is new to me, but it was surprisingly good, a successful attempt to adopt a harder synthpop sound. From what JP was saying, it seems she had a hardcore fanbase in Wales.

    This Haysi Fantayzee track sounded alarmingly like an antecedent of Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex. The song is rubbish, but the suggestive performance certainly sticks in the mind! With hair like that, it is no surprise to learn that Jeremy Healy knew Boy George, though he and Kate look more like a pair of prototype crusties...

    A complete change of pace follows with Wavelength. This is a nice enough song, but it sounds like it belongs in 1978. The static, stilted cocktail bar staging doesn't help matters, nor does the singer's mullety haircut! The Kool & the Gang track isn't bad either, but was it asking too much for Flick to come up with a proper routine? The tumbling is impressive, but rapidly gets repetitive, and I'm not sure what was added by the aerobics sessions going on at the corners of the stage. Interesting to hear from Peel that the Hassani Troupe came from Chessington Circus - three years after this I went to Chessington Zoo on a school trip (this was before the World of Adventures), and I remember being most upset that the circus was sold out and we wouldn't be able to go in. Ironic really, as a circus is the last place I would want to visit these days...

    The FB3 underline their status as the new TOTP house band with their umpteenth studio appearance. I really like this version of a much-covered standard, as it brings a rhythmic, almost sinister edge to the song and makes it sound contemporary. We then succumb to repeat performances for the rest of the show, but I did like the new chart rundown titles.

    1. You're right John, no videos on this show. Now that must be a first on TOTP. Does anyone know when the last time TOTP had no videos throughout the show, and only studio performances? Hmm, now that is a challenge...

    2. I was at a loose end and checked the listings, it seems that the last regular show with no videos was 25/06/81, although the Christmas Day show 1981 was video free as well, not that we saw it on BBC4.

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  13. I see that the BBC in their infantile (sic) wisdom have started using the Music caption again. I thought they'd dropped that.

    Watching these old shows I'm amazed at the literally dozens of clips that NEVER got shown on TOTP2 over the years including most of those in tonight's show. But at least that meant they were spared the sarcastic/inane commentary from Steve Wright and/or Mark Radcliffe.

    Quite a few records outside the Top 30 ARE featured this week, unlike last week when they wouldn't touch outside the 30 with a barge pole.

    I hated Toto Coello with a vengeance at the time but now I can it for the daft fun that it was. I have to say that some of those girls aren't in the first flush of youth and don't look entirely comfortable in those ripped bin bag costumes. I didn't know bin bags were available in that many colours. But one thing you can say for this lot, they clean up after themselves.

    Then Yazoo who by comparison are rather sombre dressed all in black. A good performance but maybe the video helped sell the song better.

    The Boys Town Gang from Dutch TV. I remember this from the time and had to laugh because while the singer has a superb voice and this is a classic song, the two moustached (gay clone) hoofers are too much of a distraction with their frankly naff dancing and fixed grins. A nice touch are the two matching Sphinxes with spotlights shoved up their sphincters!

    The Boys Town Gang were a studio group formed by San Francisco DJ Bill Motley whose line up regularly changed and they had released the very rude comic disco album called Cruisin The Streets the previous year before they cleaned up their act with a more straightforward album of disco covers.

    Now reduced to a foursome again (they didn't get on with drummer did they?) The Associates are back with their third bite of the pop cherry and the hit of theirs that most people forget about. That's not surprising because while pleasant enough it does lack the obvious riff that the first two hits owned (Party Fears two had the keyboard riff, Club Country a violin riff). Although its hypnotic driving rhythm and eccentric lyrics save it.

    I like John Peel's joke about Sheena Easton's fan club being called the Sheena Barmy Army, a cheeky reference of course to punk band The Exploited. I like the machinery-themed giant cogs backdrop. This sounds incredibly eccentric from today's ears, not at all the thing you'd expect her to record but she gets away with it. She looks incredible here, I can see why Prince wanted to record with her.

    Haysi Fantasi were frankly odd and a bit creepy, as is the subject matter of the song not to mention the even-dodgier follow up Shiny Shiny. I quite liked this a lot at the time without realising what it was about. The crowd seem to love it with a lot of them utilising the left over cowboy hats from Zoo's Dona Summer routine last time.

    Wavelength are in complete contrast and seem stuck in the 1970s image and sound wise. It's a nice enough tune with some impressive harmonies but they do have a bad image problem and the theatrical routine with the bar (which was also used by the Firm last time) would be more at home on The Two Ronnies or a similar light entertainment show.

    1. on the iplayer the beeb are using the pudsey bear logo... which is worse than the music one in my opinion (at least it's good news that wigon isn't getting paid for his time now, but will any slebs actually pledge to donate money of their own this year for a change?)

  14. And there's more...

    The tumbling seemed to have nothing to do with the Kool and The Gang song, or what we could hear of it over the constant clapping. whooping and cheering. And the poor leotard-adorned Zoo girls are hardly noticeable among all those twirling circus tumblers and were in danger of being whacked round the head from those flailing limbs. I felt out of breath just watching it!

    Next up the new improved chart rundown with added red lights. Someone's spent this week's design budget on some bicycle lamps from Halfords. Whoop-de-do.

    Judging by their reaction when Peelie introduces them, the Moroccan Hassani tumblers from Chessington Circus would seem to be massive Fun Boy Three fans. Who'd have thunk it.

    Summertime was the FB3's interim single between albums. Not their best but quite daring all the same. I love the trombone solo which was not what you expect on most pop records. The band are swelled to a Fun Boy/Girl Seven with the addition of pianist Nicky Holland, trombonist Annie Whitehead, Cellist Caroline Verney and violoinist Nicky Parker. There was also a female backing vocalist on the record not present here. I bought this and the B-side was the fantastic Summer of '82 which was like an electro pop version of Friday Night and Saturday Morning, or Ghost Town Part 2.

    The Charts again and having raised 5 places each week Macca now stuck at number 15. Then a repeat of The Firm which Peelie seems to like for some reason.

    Weird Top Ten - Number 10 Shy BOY, number 9 My GIRL Lollipop, number 8 Strange Little GIRL then two animals Stool PIGEON and Eye Of The TIGER. Meanwhile the Top 5 are exactly the same as last week. Has that ever happened before (apart from Christmas when they have the same chart twice)? Answers on a coloured bin liner.

    A repeat of the second Dexys performance (with drummer Seb Shelton sans shirt but plus one fan, me!) which ends the show - the BBC's way of saying "we're bored with this now". But the county wasn't bored, not by a long chalk.

  15. I quite liked Toto Coelo - they were refreshing. Slimmed down to a trio in later years, but still including Blockbusting Bob Holness's daughter Carol, they came up with this underrated gem:

    Sheena Easton's reasonable effort was penned by Julia Downes, who would subsequently co-write Roger Daltrey's minor chart entry 'Under A Raging Moon'. Relocation to Minneapolis was desperately required in order to boost Sheena's flagging career - and that would happen in '85.

    Wavelength's 'Hurry Home' - with a lyric that struck a chord with the families of those who had served in the Falklands - was immaculately performed and produced, if somewhat slanted towards Eurovision.

    Kool and the Gang are ALWAYS fun, aren't they? The title of the song would, of course, later become the name of a successful falsetto-voiced boy band masterminded by Pete Waterman OBE.

    1. AMENDMENT TO ABOVE: Bob Holness's daughter Roz was a member of Toto Coelo; her sister Carol recorded solo under the name Nancy Nova, achieving a minor chart hit with 'No, No, No'.

  16. Just listened to the Kermode and Mayo Movie Podcast and they say there's a hilarious Sheena Easton joke in the new sci-fi blockbuster Arrival. I'm not going to see it just because of that (will catch up with it eventually) but if you're popping along to the pictures soon, listen out for the quip.

  17. Awful flashing mugshot accompaniment on this show, which contained six songs in the 20’s, only three songs higher than 22, and two cocktail bar sets, albeit one a repeat from a previous edition.

    Another fine turn by Peelie, despite his lack of named intro for Toto Coelo, with a routine to knock Zoo into the bin. They were originally on the same label as Toni Basil, scraped into the 50’s with follow-up “Dracula’s Tango” / “Mucho Macho”, and lost Anita and big ginger Sheen from their line-up when changing labels for their fourth and fifth (and final) singles.

    A very nonchalant, left hand in pocket performance from the pleasantly smiling Vince Clarke.

    Boystown Gang’s mugshot didn’t match up with the crew in this excerpt from “Top Pop”.
    Talking of which, I’d never seen a caption advertising the Dutch show on TOTP before. Apart from that, this was an FF moment for me.

    I’m surprised those Associates chocolate guitars didn’t melt under those studio lights. It was plain to see Billy could milk the audience with ease, and I note the long version of the show was transmitted after eight. See what I did there?

    After some dope salutes behind a balloon with glasses (ho very ho), we get Sheena looking very comely but saddled with a song which was an obvious non-mugshot earner.

    It’s Dexy’s meets The levellers, complete with melodica man! Haysi Fantayzee’s attempt at leapfrog didn’t go very well, did it? What a superb singing voice that Jeremy Healy has.

    That Wavelength song reminded me of “Keeping The Dream Alive” by Freiheit. I hate them both.

    Those tumblers were impressive, but why? You couldn’t hear Kool and the Gang for all that audience whooping, but it sounded like we weren’t missing much anyway.

    A different slant on “Summertime” by the BF3, and I’m sure Terry Hall smiled at one point. Was it wind?

    1. TOTP would rarely require footage from the Dutch equivalent show Top Pop, because in general, new songs would first feature in the British charts before Holland, and TOTP would by then, have snapped the performers in its own back yard.

      However, two brilliant Top Pop performances exist from the very first month of these reruns, i.e., April 1976 where John Miles and Sailor although featured in the TOTP studio, did better Top Pop performances in my opinion:

      Top Pop was known for no studio audience, but instead lavish/pantomime style studio sets. The above two songs are case in point.

  18. i get the impression here that others are in the know as to what the apprarently non-sensical "john wayne is big leggy" is all about, but as i still hadn't a clue i felt compelled to do some research. and i discovered that rather naughtily it suggests that the duke has anal sex with an indian... sorry - native american squaw (that perhaps rather cleverly given the lightweight nature of the music also serves as an allegory for how european settlers ran roughshod over the original inhabitants of north america). but it still doesn't explain what "big leggy" actually means!

    i also note there is a reference to a tepee in there, but sadly given the male subject matter they never rhymed it with toupee!

    1. Yeah, but did kids or adults back then even try to look up any of this, let alone the BBC? When I first heard it, I thought the lead singer Kate fancied John Wayne, as many women did in the 20th Centrury. By the way, any sightings of 20th Century Relic?

    2. Shiny Shiny was about a nuclear apocalypse, because the 80s. Looking her up online I see Kate Garner (wouldn't have known her name, TBH) is now a photographer in LA.

    3. Kate Garner's early life makes interesting reading. According to Wikipaedia, she was expelled from school in Lancashire at the age of 16 in 1970, and then hitchhiked through Europe to India, where her parents located her a year later. All this at the age of 16. No wonder she was such a bundle of fun at age 28 already on the Haysi Fantaysee debut this week, having already walked halfway across the world. Suffice to say that she is still only 62 now.

    4. wilberforce, I've always assumed that 'big leggy' is a reference to what blokes may call a 3rd leg if they were particularly well endowed. Though I could be wrong on that...

    5. Shiny Shiny may officially be about a nuclear apocalypse, but the line "bad times behind me" and the title are certainly further cheeky references to anal sex. Look up shiny nickel on an urban slang dictionary.

    6. I'm sensing a theme to HF's lyrics... Just looked at Shiny Shiny's and it reads like sci-fi anal sex, if you can envisage such a thing (probably best not to try).

    7. Still here Dory, but I'm effectively 'semi-retired' now :o)

  19. It appears The Firm kept up their dodgy geezer band persona for three non-charting follow-ups, then released two other flop novelty singles in a different style before their enterprise (ahem) paid off with “Startrekkin’”, which had been rejected by all the labels the band’s songwriters sent it to, so they issued it themselves and the song, erm, rocketed up the charts.

  20. A majestically sardonic John Peel is tonight's host. 'Who's sold out?' indeed.

    Toto Coelo up first one-hit-wondering their way thru yet another playground chant/nursery rhyme song. Seemed to be a hell of a lot of these things around this time. Can't say the song does anything for me, but it was a good performance by them.

    Yazoo. Alf starting to display a bit of stage craft now and she's had a bit of a make-over as well. Altogether a far more polished and confident performance. What a great voice she possesses - sad that such a talent is missing from today's charts.

    Boys Town Gang. If the two men were dancers - they were awful. If they were singers - they were so awful they weren't trusted with microphones or even any words to sing. A fine MOR song ruined. And if that is an excerpt from the Dutch equivalent of ToTP then we really should stop our carping about our show. (Although that would spell the end of an enormous lot of fun for me)

    Associates. More of a traditionally-structured song than their previous two hits, and as a result Billy's soaraway vocals fit more uneasily. Still the best song of the night though. Were Billy and Martha ever an item? They look very close.

    Sheena Easton. This is awful. She, on the other hand is extremely attractive. Fabulous eyes.

    Haysi Fandabidozi. I quite liked this back in the day but the years have not been kind to it. Its quite remarkable that the doggy action got through the Beb's usually vigilant scissors.

    Wavelength. I quite like this, although the performance and staging is more suited to a variety show- Morecombe and Wise, Two Ronnies etc.

    Kool. Zoo. Some Moroccan tumblers. A by-numbers Kool work-out that has little in the way of saving graces. The tumblers were mightily impressive in a circus-kind of way. Unfortunately their act encouraged the crowd to go a-woopering and a-hollering. Very annoying. Can't say I even noticed what the Zooologist were up to, but I bet it added little to proceedings.

    Fun Boy 3. Terry Hall's vocals actually suit this version. That said - having just heard it I can go another 35 years without feeling the need to hear it again.

    Repeats for The Firm and Dexys and thats our lot.

    John Peel. The best presenting job for many a year - possibly of all time. No interaction with the crowd around him, neat and succinct links (one stumble aside) witty comments throughout. Very nearly perfect - 9.

    Another slight improvement musically. The Associates were excellent, Yazoo and Toto Coelo were alright as well. 6.

    1. most sources say that billy mackenzie was bisexual, but according to his associate alan rankine (in the in-depth interview below) billy was self-confessedly gay. if so, then any (18 carat) love affair with martha presumably wouldn't have happened - maybe they were just close in the way that many straight women are with gay men?

    2. According to the biography The Glamour Chase, he married when he was 17 and was living in America to an American woman who was the sister of Melvin Dummar, the guy who notoriously rescued Howard Hughes when he crashed in the desert in 1967.

      I recently found out that my dad's cousin's best man at her wedding was Gordon Margulis who moved to the USA and later became Howard Hughes' bodyguard/personal assistant.

    3. As an aside, the film about Melvin Dummar called Melvin and Howard is one of the saddest ever. Your heart goes out to him if it was in any way accurate.

    4. apparently billy's american marriage was simply one of convenience as it was a (seemingly failed) attempt to get himself a green card! it has also been mentioned somewhere on the internet that he had transgender issues as well - maybe that was what did for him in the end?

  21. Even though I was by no means keen on all of them, thank goodness that this time we had lots of new songs to experience!

    Toto Coelo - I remember loving this at the time, and I still think it's OK as these things go. I probably didn't notice that the ladies were no spring chickens at the time!

    Yazoo - A better performance this time.

    Boystown Gang - I liked this at the time too, even though I was too young to get the gay references. I probably thought those blokes were just bad dancers (and pretty ugly too!)
    Given how many times we've seen performances from Top Pop before (the clue usually being a massive sign with the show's logo on the background) I'm not sure why they make a point of captioning it here.

    The Associates - No-one else (including John Peel!) has mentioned that the single was a double 'A' side with 'Love Hangover' - I prefer that one but this song is also good. You can tell that they were on the naughty step because the chocolate guitars are barely in shot and when they start getting used for comic effect the cameraman cuts away to something random. Hurll's revenge!

    Sheena Easton - Oh dear, Sheena's bought a Gary Numan album and wants to do 'New Wave' music.

    Haysi Fantayzee - Thought this was a brilliant song at the time, though even then I recognised that Kate was clearly a bit 'dirty'. Jeremy Healy doesn't talk about his band much, does he? Maybe he doesn't want to be reminded about his terrible miming. I can't believe they got away with their act, maybe Hurll was too busy telling The Associates off in rehearsal...

    That's it for the good stuff, Wavelength is dull, Kool & The Gang is the same old rubbish as the last few singles and I'm not keen on the FB3 song.

    1. The Associates' cover of Love Hangover was pretty good, maybe they should have performed that, it might have got them further up the chart.

    2. I saw Jeremy Healy on a late night dance music programme on Channel 4 about 15 years ago, and someone asked him about John Wayne Is... He was happy to discuss it, and gave an explicit explanation as to its meaning (which had gone over my head previously).

    3. I had another good listen to John Wayne is Big Leggy, and I cannot see what all the fuss is about. Even if there were undertones of suggestion in it, it was the catchy intro and Kate Garner's cute voice that propelled it up the charts.

      When they returned a couple of weeks later for a new TOTP performance on DLT's show, Kate was in a barn-type white dress with no bra on underneath (heaven's above!), and was the preferred choice of performance on Steve Wright's TOTP2:

      Anyway, the start of the tune with - "shotgun gimme gimme gimme funboy" was the best part.

    4. What's more, the video is quite rare, and can be seen here:

      In the video, the story arises from comic book pop-up characters, and this could likely have given the idea some three years later to A-HA when making the famous video for Take On me. What do you think?

  22. I’ve watched this one late and not read anyone else’s remarks, but I really wish, bar a couple of acts that I hadn’t bothered… I did enjoy John Peel as ever though.

    Fine Young Cannibals, sorry Toto Coelo – I eat Cannibals (part 1) – Ah-ha it’s the fab five; Ros, Lindsey, Lacey, Anita and Sheen pre-empting the Spice Girls in some very rain mack type outfits. Written and produced by Barry ‘Dancing on a Saturday Night’ Blue it’s a reasonable effort. The girls even wear similar macks on the single sleeve. However, for me across the pond we had Toto with a much more sophisticated piece of music that took a while to catch on here…

    Yazoo – Don’t Go –Again……..

    Boystown Gang – Can’t take my eyes off you – Andy Williams they ain’t!

    The Associates – 18 Carat Love Affair – Where were all the singing coaches when this guy needed them? As Anglo states; “somehow reached no21”. Indeed.

    Sheena Easton – Machinery – Don’t recall this and it’s OK. We missed out on my favourite Sheena Easton single ‘You could have been with me’ totally on ToTP which is a shame.

    Haysi Fantazee – John Wayne is big leggy – Words just fail me…. I feel like Craig Revel Horwood trying to summarise a bad dance.

    Wavelength – Hurry Home – Nice song and laid back performance. I definitely recall this as being one of the better moments at this point in time.

    Kool & the Gang – Big Fun – Made no impression on me at the time and still doesn’t.

    Fun Boy Three – Summertime – Hmmm…George Gershwin…not sure about this really. I’m just not enjoying this run of FB3 hits at all.

    The Firm – Arthur Daley – Next…

    Dexys Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen – Classy end to the show with a credit ending for the second time in recent weeks.

    1. Was Sheen short for Sheena? Or a fan of Barry Sheene (after all, who didn't like him in 1982?).

    2. I can't find confirmation of Sheen Doran's first name being an abbreviation. Turns out the troupe was renamed Total Coelo in the US to avoid confusion with Toto, and the three who remained became Bruce Foxton's backing singers for a while.

    3. well it is easy to get a group of ageing tarts in binbags mixed up with a bunch of beardy session musos, isn't it?

  23. not that i ever liked "come on eileen" anyway (or any of his stuff for that matter), but mr rowland gets a further black mark in my book for his inconsistent pronounciation of the name "eileen" on his record - in the choruses it's "come on ei-LEEN", but in the verses there's a backing vocal/shout that goes "come on EI-leen"! so you see kevin, you're not so clever after all...

  24. Not sure if anyone else has already p[osted this, but I first heard the 'I Eat Cannibals' track in the USA by Total Coelo, as there was already a band in the States with the same name(!). The Beat were also The Beat UK for the same reason...

    1. Actually, thinking about it, I wonder if it was just Toto that got upset...

    2. Sorry, Arthur, just catching up on the comments and saw you already mentioned Total Coelo. Apologies. So it was Toto then...

  25. I can remember two members of Toto Coelo being interviewed on LBC back in 1982 (most likely one of them was Ros because Dad was a presenter on the station at the time) and how articulate and educated they sounded.

    There was another interview with the two guys behind The Firm around that time as well - suffice to say that they were nothing like the type of characters found on Minder, but you only needed to flip the single over to find that out.

  26. A few years ago in 1977 the rah Band were wearing bin liners when they appeared on the show